Posted April 18, 2018 05:06:31 Ontario’s labour market has been rocked by the resignation of the country’s premier, whose move to stand down after less than a year in office has brought a storm of protest.
Premier Kathleen Wynne is the first Ontarian premier in decades to step down and has been replaced by a Liberal leader, Bill Morneau, who has faced widespread criticism for a series of decisions.
The provincial government has promised to create more than 4,000 new jobs in the next three years.
“It was not a good decision,” Wynne said during a news conference Tuesday.
But it wasn’t her first brush with controversy.
Last month, the premier resigned in a dramatic and divisive display of dissent after a court ruled that she did not have the power to dismiss the premier and her cabinet over allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Critics charged that she had undermined the independence of the Ontario government and used the power of her office to pressure ministers to drop key issues, including a ban on smoking in provincial parks.
While many other Ontarians applauded the premier’s decision to step aside, some called for her to resign from cabinet over the case of a woman who died after being refused an abortion.
That case, brought by the Ontario Civil Liberties Association, was widely seen as a political ploy to secure the endorsement of Morneau for the Liberal leadership.
Ontario has not seen a number of provincial elections since 1995, when it became a federal territory and won the right to hold its own elections.
Despite this backdrop, Ontario has been among the provinces hit hardest by the downturn in the global economy and is struggling to attract and retain qualified workers, according to a recent labour market report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Among the provinces with the worst labour market is Newfoundland and Labrador, where the unemployment rate is 10.6 per cent, according a July survey by CIBC World Markets.
Many Ontarians, particularly those with higher-paying jobs, are struggling to find work, while some have begun to look for alternatives to work, such as part-time work.
Morneau’s move has not gone unnoticed by some Ontarians.
As she prepared to step into the spotlight, some people on social media expressed their anger over her resignation.
I don’t believe her resignation is going to solve anything, but it is a step in the right direction, wrote one Facebook user.
We are going to keep working and trying to change things, wrote another.
I hope the province will find the best way to hire people for the long term, wrote a third.
Ontario was hit hard by the recession and was still recovering from the worst floods since the Great Depression.
Its unemployment rate in August stood at 10.2 per cent.
It is also among the worst provinces in the country for job vacancies, according the National Centre for Business Research.
There have been several high-profile resignations from other governments in recent years, including from Ontario’s former premier, Dalton McGuinty, who resigned in January over the botched response to a coronavirus pandemic in Ontario.
Wynne’s resignation was widely expected, given her reputation as a polarizing figure, with critics accusing her of playing politics with her power and of being out of touch with the province’s needs.
At the same time, she has been criticized for her handling of a recent coronaviruses pandemic.
She has also faced criticism over her handling to the province of the 2016 election, when her Liberal party was forced to abandon the idea of a minority Liberal government, citing concerns over the integrity of the results.
In addition to Morneau’s resignation, Morneau is facing a second major crisis on Tuesday when the Ontario auditor general is expected to release his report on the province.
On Tuesday, Moruth, who is now the premier, will be testifying in the House of Commons, and he is expected give an opening statement.
During the 2016 provincial election, Morath was forced out of his job after a scathing audit found he had improperly used a $1.8 million severance package, which included a $6,000 donation from a wealthy donor, to pay for his family’s travel to a Caribbean vacation.
He has also been accused of misleading Ontario taxpayers by misrepresenting the province had enough money to pay him his severance when in fact the money was cut off by the province in March 2016, and the cost was later recovered.
After the 2016 elections, Wynne promised to spend $100 million on infrastructure in the province, a promise she later scrapped.
Morneau, meanwhile, was forced into a crisis of confidence in March 2017 when he publicly accused Morath of being “a puppet of the Canadian Liberal Party.”
In May 2017, Wynne announced the creation of a $50 million fund to help unemployed Ontarians who cannot find jobs.
Then, on July 1, 2018, the Liberals unveiled